There are tons of neat tricks, tips, trivia and secrets to diamonds. Along with some great advice and help as well (160 of them).
Things that many people don’t know… until today.
I’m going to tell you all the inside info, all the juicy tidbits, all the things that you should learn and understand before you make that next diamond purchase.
I’ve broken these down into specific categories to make things simple to scan, read and follow along.
So let’s dive in and let the truth begin…
- A diamond is known as the “king of gems“.
- The name “diamond” comes from the Greek word “Adamas“, which means “unconquerable” or “invincible”.
- Diamonds were created over 3.4 billion years ago.
- Only a diamond can scratch or polish another diamond.
- Diamond is the traditional gift for the 9th, 10th, 15th, 17th, 20th, and the 30th wedding anniversary.
- Diamonds do not float in water. That’s why some diamonds are often found in river beds and lakes.
- Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on the face of the earth, but you can still chip or break them easy enough with the right amount of force at just the right angle.
- Diamonds always feel warm to the touch because they have a high thermal conductivity. This thermal conductivity is also what allows diamond testers to determine if a particular stone is a diamond or a fake.
- Some diamonds can actually glow-in-the-dark. It’s a phenomenon known as florescence, and many times it can even change the appearance of the diamond in natural light and make it look cloudy, hazy, milky, blurry, or foggy.
- If you can’t view a diamond at 10x magnification, or under a microscope, then don’t buy it. You need to see what’s under the hood, so to speak, so you know what quality you’re actually buying. Otherwise you could get yourself ripped off.
- The Hope diamond is probably the most famous diamond in the world. It’s a large blue diamond that resides in the Smithsonian Institute… and it has been cursed for centuries.
- King Tut was buried with diamonds.
- It’s been said that cupid’s arrow was tipped with diamonds.
- Diamond was made the official birthstone for April back in 1912 by the American National Association of Jewelers.
- Diamond also represents the Aries zodiac gemstone (March 21 – April 19).
- Diamond is the official gemstone for the state of Arkansas.
- Diamond is nothing more than a 100% chunk of pure carbon.
- Diamond are created from a volcanic rock called Kimberlite.
- Diamond is mentioned in the Bible (Exodus).
- Diamonds can come from outer space, appearing in meteorites.
- Diamonds are believed to give people strength, courage and to provide invincibility.
- Every diamond has the exact same DNA. So unless you actually physically dig it out of the earth or mine yourself, you’ll never really know where it came from (exact origin or place of birth).
- Diamonds do last forever… but some won’t. They will show signs of wear and tear over the years, like little chips around the outside edge of the girdle, which is known as “a bearded girdle“.
- No two diamonds are ever identical, so trying to compare two stones can prove quite frustrating. “You don’t have a VS2 with an E color, but you have a VS1, D, in a smaller carat weight…”
- Diamond’s can cut glass, but I wouldn’t try it. The edge of the diamond (the girdle) is the weakest part of the stone. So it wouldn’t take much force to break it. One good hit, blow, or bump could cause it to snap or chip off.
- Diamonds can freeze. They have a melting point of 3550c (6422F), which means that if you melted a diamond under these extremely hot conditions (like the earth did when it created them), then let them cool, then yes… these diamonds would “freeze” again as soon as they began to cool. So, technically speaking, the “freezing” point and the “melting” point of a diamond is one of the same. :)
- Moissanites are man-made, lab-created diamonds (diamond look-a-likes), that are cheaper than a real diamond, but usually have more fire or color (like a yellow cast) to them.
THE 4 C’S
- Learn about the four C’s before you buy a diamond, otherwise the sales person could tell you anything and you’d tend to believe it.
- The 4C’s: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight, are what determines the actual price of a diamond.
- 10x magnification is the power used to grade diamonds.
- GIA devised the current diamond grading system (the 4C’s) in 1949 to standardize grading so it was more official and accurate.
- “Grade bumping” is where a jeweler can bump the grade of a diamond higher than it really is. And this is perfectly legal. It’s because the ftc allows some room for “opinion“, since everybody has one and they could all be different. So they allow clarity and color to be off by as much as one whole grade up or down, but no more than that. This is why I say “buy certified diamonds only.” At least then you have better odds at getting the quality you paid for.
- “Brilliance” is the white sparkles of light coming out of a diamond. “Fire” is the colored sparkles of light (also known as “dispersion“).
- “Scintillation” is the beautiful sparkle effects in a diamond that is caused by the contrast of light and dark areas. When you tilt a diamond in the light and see it twinkle… that’s scintillation.
- The most important C of the 4 C’s is cut. This has more to do with the actual beauty and sparkle of the stone than any other diamond aspect.
- If you want your diamond to sparkle, get an “excellent“, or at the least a “very good” cut grade.
- The round brilliant cut diamond is the most popular and the most expensive cut of diamond on the market.
- The brilliant cut diamond has 58 facets on it, or 57 if there is no culet.
- The brilliant cut diamond is called the brilliant cut, because when cut well, it will give you the maximum amount of both brilliance and fire in a stone (all due to it’s perfectly symmetrical round shape).
- Don’t confuse cut with Shape. A well cut diamond has no bearing on what shape the stone is, e.g. round, square, rectangle, oval…
- Diamonds can be cut into any shape or design in the world.
- An “extremely thick” girdle usually is a good indicator that the rest of the diamond is cut “poor” as well.
- The best diamond girdle grades to have are: thin, medium (my favorite), or slightly thick.
- The girdle of a diamond is always measured as “100%” (because it’s the widest part), and every other facet, table, angle, percentage, or depth, is measured against that width.
- Some diamonds have culet’s that are so big, it looks like there’s a bullet hole in the diamond.
- When the diamond culet comes to a sharp point on the bottom of the pavilion (the base of a diamond), it’s actually listed as “none” (meaning no culet) on a diamond report.
- The best diamond culet grades to have are: none, very small, small, or medium.
- The only true reason why diamonds have culets and girdles is so the sharp edges or points of the diamond don’t chip or break.
- Princess cut diamonds (especially the perfectly square ones) tend to look much bigger than a round diamond does of the exact same carat weight (all due to their square corners).
- Fancy cut diamonds (any cut of diamond other than the round brilliant cut diamond) are much cheaper in price… often hundreds and thousands of dollars cheaper. Read my post: save $3,000 on a 1.00 carat diamond.
- Marcel Tolkowski set the ranges and mathematical proportions for the ideal cut diamond back in 1919.
- The reason why all diamonds are not cut “ideal” is because of profit. They utilize every bit of rock they can and often cut is sacrificed.
- “Hearts and Arrows” is a term given to exceptionally well cut stones . When viewed with a special hearts and arrows loupe, light will reflect off the facets of the diamond and create a symmetrical pattern of hearts that can be seen when looking through the pavilion (bottom view), and an arrows pattern when seen from the crown (top view).
- “Triple zero” (0,0,0) is a grade given by AGS that signifies one thing: a diamond with an ideal cut, an ideal color, and an ideal clarity (not 0 cut, 0 polish, & 0 symmetry as some websites want you to believe).
- “Triple excellent” is referring to a GIA certified diamond that has an excellent cut, excellent polish, and excellent symmetry (the best there is).
- The “make” of a diamond is simply referring to how well a diamond is cut.
- A “swindled” diamond actually means “poor make“, or bad cut.
- “Symmetry” is how perfect a diamond’s facets are and the placement of them around the stone. The facets of a diamond should be proportional to each other and line up perfectly with all the other facets to form excellent symmetry.
- “Polish” means how well the outer facets of the diamond are polished, or finished. A properly polished stone won’t show grain lines, bubbles, waves, or cut marks across the surface.
- “Single cut diamonds” (also known as melee) are small diamonds (usually under 10 points), with 16-18 facets on them. They are often used as side stones, or accent stones to give the jewelry or watch more sparkle and pizzazz.
- “Spread diamonds” are narrow, shallow cuts of diamond that look larger than they really are, but often lack the brilliance and fire of a better cut stone. This not only can cause them to look dull and dark, but it can also make them easier to break.
- A “fish eye” is an effect a diamond gives off when the depth of the stone is too shallow (below 51%). A circle then appears around the inside of the diamond that looks just like a fish eye.
- A “nail head” is when the diamond is cut too deep (the distance between the table and the culet). When the diamond gets beyond 70.9%, then your diamond will lose light out the bottom of the stone and give the diamond a dark center, which is often referred to as a nail head.
- The “bow-tie effect” is when a dark shadow falls inside a fancy cut stone (like the pear, marquise, oval and heart shaped cut) that resembles a bow tie. A really dark, or pronounced bow-tie usually means the diamond is cut too deep.
- “Diamond chips” were nothing more than small jagged pieces of diamond back in the olden days. A lot of people still call “small” diamonds “chips”, but it’s not true any more. Chips in jewelry haven’t been used for decades, maybe even close to a century. Nowadays, single cut stones are used instead, thanks to those awesome machines that can now cut those tiny, little fellers.
- There are no “official” cut grades for any fancy shaped diamonds. Read what I recommend to do here: fancy cut grades.
- There is no A, B, or C in the diamond color grading chart (because GIA didn’t want people to think that all the other colors except for A was inferior).
- Pure white diamonds, (D, E or F), are very rare and very expensive, but well worth the price. They really do make a diamond “pop“.
- “Blue-white” is old terminology that is very misleading and shouldn’t be used today. The FTC clearly states that this term can only be used to describe a diamond that has “blue fluorescence” and nothing else (sellers used to use “blue white” to describe a top-notch “colorless diamond“).
- Almost every genuine diamond pulled from the earth (98% of them) has some color to them, like yellow, brown, or grey for example.
- Most people can’t detect the small changes in color grades unless it’s a strong, obvious color like yellow or brown (usually in the J, K, L, or M range).
- The most popular diamond colors on the market are G, and H (near colorless diamonds, also called “fine white” diamonds).
- If you put a diamond that has a yellow tint into a yellow gold mounting, it will mask or hide the color of that diamond and make it appear whiter.
- A shallow or thin diamond (spread stone), will lighten the color of the stone, while a deeper cut diamond will darken it.
- To truly see the color of any diamond you should look at the diamond from the side or the bottom view (because brilliance and sparkle masks color).
- Just about every colored diamond (not a fancy diamond) on the market today is heat-treated to enhance the color and hue, which means that color may not last. It could fade, or lighten if subjected to heat; like torch heat, ultrasonic jewelry cleaners, or steam heat. Plus, it could even crack. Be careful. Colored diamonds should be cleaned by hand in warm, soapy water and gently patted dry.
- With grading fancy colored diamonds, the main priority is not the clarity, cut, depth or proportions of the stone, it’s the color. Color is the #1 priority in a true fancy colored diamond. The darker and more vivid the color the better.
- Anything below Z (Z+) on the diamond color grading chart is considered a fancy colored diamond.
- Fancy diamonds and colored diamonds can come in many different colors like purple, green, brown, yellow, orange, red, pink, and even black, and blue.
- Fancy pink and red diamonds are the rarest colors out of all the other colors (and the most expensive).
- Inclusions never grow, appear, or change, they are in there for life.
- If you bought a diamond and it’s cracked, chances are it’s an I clarity diamond. Cracks, feathers, fractures and visible flaws (sometimes massive in size) are all common in lower quality stones.
- The worst place for an inclusion is dead center of the stone, where it becomes pretty obvious (especially if it’s a black spot). Inclusions that fall on the outside of the diamond and sit underneath the facets are much better at hiding and not being seen.
- Chipped diamonds still hold some value to them depending on how bad the break is. Often diamonds like this can be traded-in or re-cut to remove the chipped or cracked area (which will also change the size of the stone as well as the value).
- “Inclusions” are flaws inside of a diamond, and “blemishes” are flaws outside (on the surface) of the diamond.
- 7 clarity’s look the same with the bare eye: FL, IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, and SI1 (so SI1 clarity diamonds will look just like flawless diamonds unless you magnify them ten times).
- Even a flawless diamond can have a tiny blemish on the surface of the stone.
- SI1 clarity diamonds are the most popular clarity on the market.
- Clarity only affects the beauty of a diamond when the flaws or inclusions get so big in the stone that they block the light from passing through the diamond (as in I clarity diamonds).
- Not every SI clarity stone will look like every other SI clarity stone (or any other clarity you look at). Some will look more like I clarity stones, while others will look more like a VS diamond. This is because every diamond is different, and they are graded in a “range”. So you really need to view enough stones to see which SI clarity (again, only as an example) is the best.
- SI2 clarity diamonds are the dividing line between Inclusions that you can see with the bare eye, and inclusions that are microscopic only.
- Half of all the diamonds on the market today are all one clarity; I clarity (I1, I2, and I3). That’s because any diamond that is eye-clean (SI2) or better in clarity is extremely rare in nature.
- Not all I clarity diamonds are bad, some I clarity diamonds have white inclusions in them, versus black inclusions, so they are hidden better and faceup well.
- A “sailor” diamond is a name jeweler’s often give to diamonds that have I clarity, and I color. (as in… “Aye Aye Captain!“)
- I clarity diamonds are also known as piqué clarity (often abbreviated as P, or PK) in Europe.
- Too many inclusions can weaken a diamond. So be careful when buying any I clarity diamonds (especially I2 & I3), they may crack or fracture easier than a clearer stone.
- Diamond clarity can be improved, but it’s frowned upon in the jewelry industry. It’s called laser drilling or fracture filling and it’s enhancing the stone and making it appear better than it really is. Drilling out inclusions leaves holes (or tubes) in the diamond which could weaken the stone. If you buy a stone that is laser drilled or fracture filled, it must be disclosed at the time of purchase… otherwise it’s fraud.
- Not every flaw or inclusion is drawn on a diamond plot, you’ll have to look under the comments section of a diamond report to see what it says about any other flaws or inclusions not shown.
- Diamond flaws can seem to multiply inside a diamond due to the way they are cut (sort of like a mirror-fun-house effect, which is also how light travels through the stone). One flaw can sometimes appear as eight.
- Having some inclusions is great for identification. If you have one little tiny black speck in the 6 o’clock position then you know that every time you look at that diamond, when you see that spot, that it’s your stone and your diamond has not been switched.
- “Naturals” are natural pieces of the rough rock left behind on the edge of the girdle or facet. It’s like a knot in a tree. It just happens to be a rough area that doesn’t get polished out like the rest of the stone. If your stone has a natural, it should be listed on the diamond report.
- “Trigons” are a type of natural that can show up on the edge of the diamond. They are the natural growth patterns of the diamond crystal that actually look triangular in shape. They are very, very cool.
- Hindus believe that diamonds with flaws carry bad luck.
DIAMOND CARAT WEIGHT
- “Carat” is the weight of diamonds, versus “karat” is the amount of gold used in a particular piece of jewelry. e.g. 14 karat (14kt) is 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloy.
- Diamonds were originally weighed against the seed of a carob tree, before the modern invention of the diamond scale.
- The average diamond carat weight for an engagement ring solitaire is only 38 points.
- The “dream carat weight” (the size that every woman wants), is one full carat (1.00 CT).
- It takes over 250 tons of earth just to obtain a 1.00 carat diamond.
- A one carat diamond that has a good make (cut well) will have a millimeter width of 6.5 mm.
- The largest diamond in the world is the Cullinan diamond weighing 3,106 carats.
- There are 100 points in a one carat diamond (written as 1.00 carat). So 1/2 carat diamond would be 50 points (.50 carat). A 1/4 carat would be 25 points (.25 carat). A 3/4 carat (.75 carat) would be 75 points. It breaks down just like money. :) It really is that simple.
- Buy shy. Which means, if you buy a .93 CT diamond, it will be cheaper than the same quality of diamond in a 1.00 carat stone… and they’ll both still look the same size. These are called “light carat weights” and can save you a ton of money.
- The smaller the carat weight, the better the clarity and color will appear. This is because it’s very hard for your eyes to see any real detail in smaller stones (without magnification), unlike larger stones like a half carat and up.
- “CT” means “carat“, whereas “CTW” means “carat total weight” (or the weight of all the diamonds in the ring added together).
- Just because a diamond is certified doesn’t mean it’s better quality than a non-certified diamond.
- Not all certified diamonds are good quality. Any diamond, good or bad, can be certified.
- Not all diamonds need to be certified. Usually only the bigger stones, or the center stone is certified. Little side diamonds in the mounting are not (since it costs about $60+ per stone to certify them).
- A diamond doesn’t need to be certified to be a great diamond. The paperwork is just that, paperwork. If the diamond is good, it’s good regardless if it has any documentation to it or not.
- All diamond certificates are not equal. There are many certification companies on the market that are way more lax, or not as technically advanced. So if you compare them side-by-side with other certified diamonds, you will see drastic differences in quality, cost, and appearance. Put an IGI certified diamond up against a GIA certified diamond and see for yourself.
- All diamonds are not graded with the same grading system. Some companies even alter the grading scale and add in other unique grades like SI3 for example. These usually just confuse the consumer even more.
- The only two diamond reports that I would ever recommend anyone buying are GIA and AGS.
- A diamond report should never list a retail price or an appraisal price or any value listed on it whatsoever. A report should have no bearing on how much the diamond is worth or sold for.
- Laser inscribed stones are diamonds that have the diamond report number etched directly onto the edge of the diamond’s girdle. That way you can view the inscription under 10x magnification and quickly be able to identify your stone, as well as match it to the exact diamond report.
- A diamond report is not a guarantee of the actual quality of the stone, it’s just an expert opinion as to what they believe the true quality is (always leaving room for human error).
- Diamonds are not a good investment. Buy them because you like them, not because you want to make money off them. Re-selling a stone will usually only bring about 20 to 30% of what you paid for it.
- You don’t need to spend 2 months salary on an engagement ring, spend what you can afford and feel comfortable with.
- The average engagement ring price is $3,000.
- Paying with “cash” can often help you get a better deal. You can use it as a bargaining tool… “I’ll give you $3,000 cash for that ring right now!“
- Diamonds are not overpriced. Jewelers make very little profit on them.
- Buying online, with places like James Allen, can actually save you thousands of dollars (you’re not paying for overhead).
- You really do get what you pay for… If you buy a stone for $1,000 less at one store, than the other store down the street, there’s usually a very good reason why.
- There are plenty of ways to save money on diamonds, in fact, I came up with 101 ways.
- The appraisal price, or retail price of a diamond doesn’t matter. Some prices are marked up really high so the store can give you a huge discount, making it look like an unbelievable deal. But compare diamonds and prices from other stores to see what the average going rate really is.
- If you upgrade your stone, make sure you find out how much you’re getting for it. Often your trade-in price is not even worth it. Many times you can get the same deal or even a better deal when the diamond goes on sale (also note that most stores won’t give you a trade-in price on a sale item… it’s generally one or the other).
- Financing a diamond can often cost you double the price of the ring. Beware of finance charges, late fees, and penalties. Sometimes that great deal that you got on that beautiful diamond will be thrown out the window.
- Take advantage of jewelry store’s layaway plans. Layaways are interest free and you won’t have to worry about her accidentally finding the ring.
- View your diamond ring when you drop it off and when you pick it back up from the jeweler (whether it be for setting, sizing, fixing, or even just polishing). That way you can make sure that you’re getting your exact diamond back.
- Make sure you have your ring looked at and cleaned and inspected at least 3 times a year. Preventive medicine will catch if your stone is loose, chipped, or a prong is bent. Your rings take a lot of abuse and a closer look is always great advice.
- Often places that give you a “free” diamond warranty charge more for their stones. Shop and compare diamonds and prices with both independent jewelers as well as big name corporate chain jewelers just to be sure.
- Read your warranty well and understand your requirements. For if you miss just one scheduled “check in” date, it could void your warranty. Meaning, if you lose or break your stone – it’s not covered.
- A diamond guarantee or warranty sounds nice, but it’s not really necessary, for it doesn’t cover everything (like if your ring gets stolen, or you do damage to the mounting). I recommend to just get your diamond fully insured (like with your home owners or renter’s insurance) against loss, theft, fire, or damage (just in case something happens or you chip or break it).
- Diamond warranties or guarantees are not transferable. So if you sell your ring, or are thinking about buying someone else’s “guaranteed” ring, think again. That guarantee will be void.
- “Service plans“, or “extended service plans, a.k.a. ESP’s, are good to have, although pricey at some jewelers (but then the price of the individual repairs are much, much more). These plans generally cover such things as: ring sizings, refinishing and polishing, soldering, labor and parts required for resetting stones, retipping, tightening stones, reshaping rings, rebuilding prongs, tightening channels, soldering rings, and the such. The price of these plans is usually based upon the price of the actual item, and, generally these need to be purchased or updated every year to keep the repairs covered under warranty.
DIAMOND ENGAGEMENT RINGS
- The first diamond engagement ring started by Archduke Maximillian in 1477.
- The ring finger is used for the modern engagement ring because myth stated that a vein ran directly from that finger straight into the heart.
- The Tiffany style mounting (which is the standard thin, plain band with 4 or 6 prongs) is the most popular and best selling ring of all time.
- Don’t buy from the first place you look at. Shop around and compare quality, certification, and prices, and then make a better buying decision.
- Pear shaped diamonds (also called tear drops) should be worn with the point of the diamond pointing down the fingertips to elongate and accentuate the length of the fingers.
- The wedding band should go on the ring finger first (closest to the heart), and then the engagement ring goes on second.
- It’s recommended that you buy a diamond “loose” first, so you can microscope the stone and study it from all angles, before you have it set into a mounting of your choice. That way you’re certain that the prongs and mounting aren’t covering up or hiding flaws or chips.
- The more prongs your ring has, the more upkeep and money it will cost you in the future (due to prongs wearing down, bending, breaking and needing re-tipping). So keep the mounting simple and it’ll stay much cheaper. If you do get a busy ring with tons of prongs, make sure you purchase a service plan that will cover them (that’s if the store sells one).
- Those holes in the back of your ring (underneath the actual diamonds), does not mean the diamonds need to breath, as many would think. The holes in the mounting are there for other specific reasons, such as: to show the jeweler where to set the stones (like a target), to protect the point of the stone so it doesn’t chip or get bumped, to make it easier to clean the bottom of the diamond (where it gets the dirtiest), to give the diamonds more light, and to save a few bucks on the weight of the mounting. Now you know.
- You don’t have to use a diamond as an engagement ring, any gemstone (or even no gemstone) will work.
- Don’t get the ring sized or engraved until you find out if she likes the ring and says “YES“.
- Not every jewelry store has a return policy. It’s wise to check before you buy. Some stores give you one week, some places give you 90 days, some places give you nothing at all, while others may even charge you a restocking fee. Plus, not every engagement ring can be returned. Often if the ring has been sized, special ordered, sold during a special event, altered, customized, or engraved in any way… it can’t be returned.
- If you buy a diamond that comes to a point (like the square corners of a princess cut diamond, or the tips of a marquise cut), then make sure you protect those weak ends with v-tipped prongs.
- There is no true “white gold” in nature. White gold was made as a substitute for platinum, which was need during the wars. White gold is basically yellow gold with some zinc added to make it look whiter. This is why white gold always tends to have a slight yellowish hue to it, hence the reason why white gold is rhodium plated. Rhodium plating is a durable white metal that’s plated over the outside of the ring (and even some silver products) to help the item appear whiter, be more durable, and to keep the piece from tarnishing. This rhodium plating will eventually wear off, which is why it needs to be re-done every few years or so (and it isn’t cheap).
- Keep your diamond ring away from bleach. Bleach won’t hurt the diamonds, but it will pit the gold and make it weak and brittle (which also means: broken prongs).
- Don’t touch the top of the diamond with your fingers. Fingers have oils on them that stick to the diamond (fingerprints), which then attracts dust, dirt, and debris. So keep your fingers away and your diamond will stay cleaner longer.
- Diamond’s will lose their sparkle if they’re dirty. So keep it clean if you want it to bling.
Now, wasn’t that an eye-opener? :)
14k Wheat Chains
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